72-Hour Ceasefire Collapses Following Continued Rocket Fire

August 1, 2014

3 min read

Israel and Hamas both agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire, brokered by the United States and United Nations, only to collapse completely four hours later.

The ceasefire, which began 8:00 a.m. Friday morning, was meant to allow time for both Israel and Hamas to negotiate a permanent truce as Operation Protective Edge enters its 24th day.

Two hours after the ceasefire began, sirens sounded along the border with Gaza, warning of an incoming rocket attack. Following several hours of continued rocket fire into southern Israel and heavy clashes within Gaza, Israel informed the UN envoy in charge of the truce was over.

Minutes before the ceasefire took effect, terrorists in Gaza unleashed a bombardment of rockets towards the coastal city of Ashdod. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted six rockets while three others exploded in open areas.

Rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, July 16, 2014. (Photo: IDF)
Rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, July 16, 2014. (Photo: IDF)

The announcement came just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel will destroy Hamas’s terror tunnel infrastructure, “with or without a ceasefire.”

Previous ceasefire agreements between Israel and Hamas have failed when terrorists operating in the Gaza Strip continued to fire rockets into Israel. In a statement released by US Secretary of State John Kerry, the secretary said that both the US and UN have received assurances from both parties that they will abide to an unconditional ceasefire.

The ceasefire “will last for a period of 72 hours unless extended. During this time forces on the ground will remain in place,” the statement said.

“We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitment during the ceasefire.”

The statement confirmed that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators “will immediately be going to Cairo for negotiations with the Government of Egypt, at the invitation of Egypt, aimed at reaching a durable ceasefire. The parties will be able to raise all issues of concern in these negotiations.”


The main impetus behind the ceasefire was to give residents of Gaza time to recoup from the conflict being waged there. During the 72-hour period, Gazans were to receive humanitarian relief, have time to bury their dead, restock food, and repair Gaza’s damaged water and energy infrastructure.

“Israel will be able to continue its defensive operations for those tunnels that are behind its lines, and the Palestinians will be able to receive food, medicine and additional humanitarian assistance as well as to be able to tend to their wounded,” Kerry later stated.

(Photo: IDF)
IDF soldier seen entering a Hamas terror tunnel. (Photo: IDF)

On Thursday, Israel’s Security Cabinet approved the call up of an additional 16,000 reservists to the border with Gaza. On July 17, Israel widened its operations in Gaza from aerial targeted strikes to a ground offensive.

Since that time, the IDF has been focused on dismantling terror tunnels that are used to carry out cross border attacks. Some 32 tunnels have been uncovered by the IDF, majority of them having already been demolished.

Overnight Thursday and into the early Friday morning hours, the IDF attacked over 120 terror targets in the Gaza Strip. Targets included Hamas rocket launchers used to fire upon Israeli naval forces off the coast and terror tunnels. Several Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives were apprehended.

Terrorists in the Gaza Strip have fired more than 2,850 rockets at Israel. On Thursday alone, 100 rockets were fired upon Israeli cities. Those rockets aimed at major cities, such as Tel Aviv, Ashkelon and Jerusalem, have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

As of Friday morning, 61 IDF soldiers have been killed since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. 139 soldiers are being treated for injuries across Israel in stable to life threatening conditions.

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